Germany’s Multicultural Failure

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is at once the brightest and least ideologically driven of world leaders. The daughter of an East German Lutheran pastor, she came of age when Protestant churches were the focal point of opposition. She earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry, and rose to leadership in Germany’s Christian Democratic Union through brains and grit, much like Lady Thatcher in England a generation earlier… . Continue Reading »

The Bohemian Mystique

Lucian Freud’s painting merits attention, but his artistic reputation has as much to do with his “bohemian mystique” as with his canvases. So writes Maureen Mullarkey, an exacting observer of contemporary art and diagnostician of its many self-deceptions in her review of Martin Gaylord’s Man with a Blue ScarfContinue Reading »

Papal Humor

Despite the world’s fascination with All Things Papal, there isn’t much out there about papal humor. Which is, in a sense, entirely understandable: it takes a certain breadth of imagination, shall we say, to imagine Gregory XVI or Pius XI telling a joke (much less telling one on himself). Blessed John XXIII is an exception, as he was in many other ways, and two of his wisecracks have been widely circulated… . Continue Reading »

For the Bible Tells Me So

For five days in the summer of 1979 I was an expert on the Bible. Although I was humble about my status, my fellow pre-seminarians attending Vacation Bible School at East Cisco Baptist Church Vacation were awed by the agility with which I wielded my knowledge. We would sit restlessly through the flannelgraph-aided stories of Noah, Joseph, and David, waiting for the event that would put my considerable skills to the test … Continue Reading »

Degrees of Faith

Now online (and possibly in the mailboxes of those who subscribe), the November issue of First Things, featuring our first ever survey of America’s colleges and universities. Unlike other rankings, we include the schools’ social and religious life as well as their academics… . Continue Reading »

No Mere Christianity

A few days ago I posted on “First Thoughts” an item contrasting an article from the (Southern) Baptist Press claiming that only two of the 33 miners trapped underground in Chile were Christians, with one by an English Catholic who stressed the miners’ Catholicism and said he had “no doubt at all that there weren’t that many Adventists or Evangelicals down there.” … Continue Reading »